Hot Tub Maintenance & New Spa Brands

Unicel Hot Tub Filter

Unicel Hot Tub Filter

Unicel Filter CartridgeHot tub owners want quality in a replacement filter, but also expect value. With online shopping allowing for more transparent pricing, buying a hot tub filter is as easy as completing a few clicks. It is always a good idea to have at least 2 hot tub filters in rotation. This allows for overnight cleaning and drying out of one filter while the other one continues to clean the hot tub water. Having 2 filters on hand also allows for time to reorder a filter or two when one filter is discovered to be worn and no longer usable.

Unicel Hot Tub Filters have a good reputation and are easily found online because of their cataloging and cross-referencing to other filter brands. The hot tub manufacturer does not make the filter, but buys the filters from their vendors. The best way to assure a good replacement filter is to make sure the measurements are the same as the one it is replacing. A short cut to finding hot tub filters online is to be armed with the actual filter model number. These can be cryptic letter codes, but get them right and a filter shopper can instantly cross-reference that filter with other filter models from different filter manufacturers such as Pleatco, Filbur, Master and others.

A sample unicel filter number would be c-5601. This unicel replacement cartridge filter corresponds to a Filbur Fc1330 and a Pleatco Pjw234. Canadians are lucky to have a vendor that supplies very low cost quality filters (Master Filters) that can easily be cross-referenced to either a Pleatco, Filbur or Unicel number. The best place to find the filter number is on the actual filter end cap. Once the number is discovered, just make a note of it and use it any time a replacement filter is required. This is usually once a year or once every 18 months depending on spa use.

Some hot tubs that use 3 filters at a time (seems like overkill considering entire swimming pools are filtered with 100 square foot filter cartridges), may be able to rotate out the closest filter which seems the most worn instead of replacing all three filters at once. Some multi-filter hot tub owners rotate the filters after every cleaning so they each wear equally. Especially multi-filter hot tub owners should look into the Master replacement cartridge filters as an alternative to paying high prices for brand name cartridges. Still, Unicel is a household reference when it comes to quality filters, and they are also easily referenced.

Unicel filter cartridges are not only used in hot tubs but widely used as a cartridge filter solution in swimming pools instead of a sand filter. Unicel filters will last as long as the best filters, but signs of wear may include a cracked end cap where there may be a part of the plastic endcap that may be a result of mishandling of the filter. Accidentally dropping a heavy, water-logged filter when cleaning it on concrete can cause such damage. Even a small crack in the end cap that begins along the outer edge can occur because of faulty material in the end cap plastic. Crushed pleats can occur on a new filter if the curing process during manufacturing was abnormal. These type of abnormalities can be seen as soon as the filter is unpacked from the shipping carton.

During actual use, a cracked end cap can happen if the filter media itself is clogged for a longer period of time. As the pumping system works harder to pull water through this clogged filter, stresses occur on the filter and a crack can be the result, so keeping the filters regulary hosed off and in good condition will not only save money on electricity, save the hot tub pumps from damage, but also protect the filter itself from developing a crack and needing replacement sooner. There are some great tips on how to clean hot tub filters to read up on.

Unicel replacement filter cartridges come with many different end cap configurations.  A cartridge filter is made up of the end caps and the filter media which are pleated to provide maximum filtration in a limited space. Generally, the more pleats a cartridge filter has, the more surface area of the filter media or filter paper is available for filtration of spa water.  Some terminology about end caps include types that have an actual thread on one side that screws into a port on the spa. Some threaded fittings on filters may have a 1 1/2″ or 2″ SAE thread, others may have a male thread referred to as MPT.  Other fittings may just fit over a plumbing part. These are called slip fittings.

Although most filters have a hole going through the middle which just fits over a piece of pipe in the filter housing of the spa, some have one side closed or there is a castle type of closed end.  A bar handle may be mounted there for easier pulling up of the filter for removing it from the spa. Other filter removal aids may include a string or looped string,  knob or even a cone handle.

There are even some differences in the openings of these filters such as having openings with beveled edges, 12 concentric holes or slots, a molded gasket, a step or even slots.  So what all this means is that knowing the actual filter model number will remove the need to become a filter endcap expert.  Having the right model number means having the right endcap that will fit perfectly into the existing filter housing of the spa.

Unicel filter elements contain a spunbonded, 100% polyester material called Reemay®.  Reemay® is an FDA approved filtration medium used in the dairy industry and maintains a white color to show cleanliness. There are some yellow material on the market used as filter medium which Unicel reps consider sub-standard (technically also a spunbonded polyester nonwoven) . However there is also a blue material on the market which is referred to as Microban.  They are marketed as anti-microbial filters, although it is argued that the effectiveness of microban underwater is not as great as it is above water.   To kill bacteria in a hot tub, a sanitizer should be relied upon such as bromine or chlorine.

Getting a good deal on a Unicel filter cartridge is a close as a few clicks on the internet. Consider all costs including shipping and handling when comparing unicel filter prices.